Starting University: My Top Tips

Ziyang (Jack) Chen

My name is Jack, I am currently in my second year of BSc Pharmacology at King’s College London. I also previously studied BSc Nursing with Registration as Adult Nurse also at KCL and graduated with First Class Honours.

Before I came to university, like yourself I was very excited to begin with and as the days came closer to leave home and actually come onto campus, I started feeling very anxious and nervous. At the time I wasn’t quite sure how to prepare myself, what to expect at university and how I will adapt to a new environment. So, if you are feeling those emotions right now, hopefully this blog can put your mind at ease a little bit.

The one thing I noticed thinking back to that time was when I told my friends or family about how nervous I was going to university, most of the replies were in-line with “Don’t worry, it will be fine, you will get used to it after a couple of weeks.” Whilst I didn’t believe that at the time (shows how anxious I was), it fortunately was the case. It is definitely scary moving to a new city, especially London being so big, but once you are actually here, there will be so much for you to do and getting on with (whether that be academic work or just enjoying what London has to offer), I promise you will barely have time to think about anything else.

I remember my first week in student accommodation, I was one of the first students to move onto site and for a few days it was literally just myself, that was probably the worst period of my first year because I felt really lonely and isolated. I was actually quite scared to explore the area by myself because I was afraid of getting lost. But all of that changed when my flatmates moved in, I met some really wonderful people in my flat who I instantly clicked with. We would often cook together, shop together and study together; even after graduating I am still in contact with most of them. I can’t guarantee that will definitely be the case for every one of you reading this, but sooner or later everyone will find a group of people they feel comfortable with and being away from home (out of your comfort zone maybe?) the friends you end up making at university almost feel like a second home.

Another point I want to address, and it is something that I am sure everyone is thinking of regardless of what degree you chose to study is “What should I read/study/revise now in preparation for the start of the course?”. The general answer to that is, nothing. Honestly, the way your course is structured is so that it will prepare you for everything that is to come whether that is assessments or placements. So, before it really does start and trust me once it starts it can get pretty hectic, take your time and enjoy your summer holiday you will have plenty of time to study once term starts.

My last tip is to spend some time to find your own study method! I sometimes am curious about how other people study, especially people who are really academic. Whilst it is a good idea to try them out, I mean there really isn’t that much harm. I found that the best way is for you to find out by yourself. For example, I realised for me I can study anywhere as long as there’s no distraction and it is a quiet area, I would put on some of my favourite song and get started on my work. But for some of my friends, they only like studying in public spaces i.e., coffee shops, library and they don’t mind the noise. First year is designed to ease you into the university lifestyle so use it to find out what works for you because for some of you, a Bachelor might only be the start of your academic career.

That is all from me, I wish all of you a very happy 2021 and hope you can all achieve your goals.

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